Kosher Fried Chicken

For those unaware: Kosher keepers are forbidden from mixing meet and milk together.  That makes many fried chicken recipes (which call for buttermilk or other dairy ingredients) quite difficult.  Never fear, here are a few suggestions for how to make your fried chicken rise above its ‘missing’ ingredients.

Use Hummus-a Mediterranean classic.  Coat your chicken with this instead of an egg milk mixture before breading it.  It will make for a nice crispy texture and will act as a great and creative adhesive for your crumbs.  Eggs alone, also work even without the dairy.

Spices-the secret to any good food is the flavor.  With the right spice combination, the thought of something missing will never cross anyone’s mind.  Salt and pepper are your basics, but make sure to get something fresh in there, some herbs, some spice, and something with depth.

Fun Breadings-You can use breadcrumbs, and it will come out great, but why not add something a little crazier?  Try mashing pretzels and potato chips for a game-day feel to your next batch of chicken.

Oil Type-there’s a big difference between, peanut, olive, and canola.  Try them out and find which one is best for you and your chicken recipe.

Cooked to Perfection-Ensure that you keep an eye on your cooking times, because no matter what you put into your food, if you don’t cook it properly it’s just plain not going to work.  When frying your chicken, make certain you time it right, and all sides, get crispy.  Don’t over cook it or the chicken will get too dry.

Not convinced? Check out some other recipes for fried chicken from celebrity chefs like Paula Deen and Ina Garten.

10 Foods That If They Disappeared Life Would Not Be Worth Living:

Imagine a world without these foods.  It’s unfathomable isn’t it?

 

Burgers: Everyone deserves to have one, that’s why they invented veggie burgers.  Why take it away?

Cheese: Because it’s good on everything and by itself.

Chocolate: Just imagine Valentine’s Day without it.  Imagine coming home after a bad day without it—it’s just not the same.

Fried Chicken: Hear that sizzle, taste the goodness and the crispiness.  Let it all sink in.

Ice Cream: I don’t care if it’s zero degrees, I’m eating it and I will like it.

Pasta: Mark my words anarchy would ensue.

Pizza: Sauce, cheese, bread-yep it’s got to stay.

Potatoes: What would side-dishes be without them?  Nothing that’s what.

Salad: No wait, come back, really, think about how refreshing it is.  I knew you would be back.

Breakfast: All of the breakfast foods are essential to human survival.  It’s a fact.

Restaurant Reality TV – Three of the Best

Running a successful restaurant is notoriously difficult. Aside from the daily concerns that accompany any business, a restaurant must satisfy people’s culinary tastes as well as provide a suitable environment for entertainment . As such, it should come as no surprise that many restaurants (and their chefs) are unable to succeed in such a competitive business. However, the personal struggles combined with the inherent competitiveness of the industry is a perfect formula for reality television. Here is just a sample of the more popular restaurant-based reality TV shows.

Hell’s Kitchen
One of the most popular restaurant reality TV shows is the Fox-based “Hell’s Kitchen,” inspired by a British show of the same name. The show’s focus is undoubtedly the master chef and ultimate judge, Gordon Ramsey. Known for his harsh criticism and high standards, Ramsey chooses a winner from an initial pool of candidates.

The contestants are divided into teams and given a series of cooking challenges. Ultimately, the contest is reduced to two chefs, with Ramsey evaluating advice from his staff before he makes the final decision. Ramsey’s showmanship and difficult attitude combined with his professional expertise contribute to the show’s success.

Restaurant Impossible
The Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible” offers a more positive spin on restaurant reality television. The focus of the show is Chef Robert Irvine’s attempt to save a failing restaurant in only two days with a budget of $10,000.

After an initial assessment of the restaurant’s problems, Irvine and crew undergo a major renovation, making changes in decor, staff and menu. In addition to these significant alterations, Irvine offers advice to owners and staff about how to improve their failing restaurant.

Top Chef
Bravo’s “Top Chef” is perhaps the show that most resembles the “classic” reality TV format, with the contestants directly competing with each other through a series of contests designed to pare the contestants down to two or three finalists. The competition includes different type of contests.

Initially, the contestants will engage in Quickfire challenges, which demand the chefs cook a specific dish that has very particular instructions or engage in a challenge related to cooking. As opposed to the rapid nature of Quickfire challenges, an Elimination Challenge requires more preparation as well as time. The chefs work individually or in groups. After the end of the Elimination Challenge, the participants move to the Judges’ Table, where they are given their final placement.

For Those of Us Without Butter

Growing up in a home with a lactose-intolerant sister, you learn how to start changing up your cooking style.  And if you were my mother you learned quickly.  The first thing to go from family dishes: butter.

It’s really not such a bad thing.  It’s no secret that butter may be tasty but is not exactly at the top of every cardiologists Must Eat list.  In fact many TV Chefs such as Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, and Paula Deen, are starting to transition to more healthful styles of cooking (see Paula Deen on Twitter).

Take if from a guy whose been cooking his own dinner for a while it’s okay, don’t be afraid to separate from your safety-net ingredients.

For starters, olive oil should start creeping it’s way into your recipes.  It works just the same and brings a really nice flavor.  Of course any oil in large amounts is not going to be good, but a little bit of olive oil is versatile and so tasty you may not even notice the butter absence.

Mediterranean food, one of the most flavorful cuisines on the planet, has been without butter for many years.  For a perfect chicken recipe take herbs and spices of your choosing (I recommend Za’atar, a Middle-Eastern spice-mix that’s full of good flavor) and putting it over chicken with a little olive oil.  Let that cook in the oven for about half an hour and you will have perfect chicken.

If it’s baking you are worried about, try using Canola Oil, or even Coconut Oil (but be careful with it because it too can be quite fattening).  They should fix your butter needs.  For a more out there but no less tasty option try mashed avocado, applesauce, or Greek yogurt.  All of those have great properties that can make your recipe really standout.

Phasing out butter can actually be a lot of fun because you can experiment.  Find your voice as a chef; find what flavors bring your palate to life.  You are going to see how spice and herbs are what make your savory dishes taste better, and how natural sweeteners balance the richness of your sweets.

If you don’t believe me try it.  If you do, try it.  Either way, you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Where to Eat in Grand Cayman

When visiting Grand Cayman Island, there are several restaurants that residents and visitors might rank as the best. For me, there are three that top the list and are sure to excite your taste buds!

Kaibo
Kaibo is an upstairs restaurant in Grand Cayman that serves a mix of Caribbean and American food. The food is prepared to the nines by the chefs. While the menu is not extensive, it has all of the necessary items that you would need for a fabulous meal. For a citrus flavor, the calamari with lemon juice and garlic is a perfect appetizer. Their pasta is homemade and it is best served with their tasty mushroom sauce. If you want something that has a little more substance, then you should try the steak with Portobello. The meaty flavor from the mushroom pairs well with the steak. End your meal with a delicious chocolate mousse with a dollop of whipped cream on top. When the weather is nice, I love sitting in the patio area behind the restaurant.

Bread and Chocolate
If you like vegetarian dishes, Bread and Chocolate is the place for you. It is open for breakfast and lunch, but don’t let the time frame deter you from trying a delicious meal. Everything from the bread to the sauces are homemade. If you get to the restaurant at the right time, you can get something from the breakfast and the lunch menu. The seating is close together, but the crowds usually dwindle quickly as the food is served in a timely manner. The garlic sautéed greens are a great appetizer, and the fried plantain is one of their best entrees. The chocolate French toast bowl is a decadent breakfast item that is served with a wonderful syrup.

Sunshine Grill
What better way to experience the sand and sun of the islands than with a hamburger and tall drink in your hand? This is the ideal place for families with children. The food is decently priced and there is a wide selection. Try the fish tacos if you want a dish filled with authentic island flavors. The hamburgers are juicy and can be topped with almost anything. End your meal with an ice cream cone topped with a scoop of one of the numerous flavors of ice cream. The salted caramel is a popular choice and it is one of my favorites. Don’t forget to swing by the bar in the back area of the restaurant, their Mojitos are hard to beat!

Lighten up your holiday!

While it may be hard to believe, it is possible to indulge in your favorite holiday dishes without the fear of unnecessary weight gain. Whether it is Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Kwanza or Christmas, every family has their traditional holiday meals. With a little bit of planning, you can reward your taste buds without punishing your body.

As the host, follow these simple tips and your guests will not even notice the missing fat and calories in your delicious recipes:

The first step of your holiday party is meal planning:

  • Take advantage of fresh winter vegetables such as squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, Brussels sprouts and carrots. Consider making a big bowl of vegetable soup, a tasty platter of roasted vegetables or a whole-grain pasta dish loaded with veggies. One of my go-to winter dishes is a hearty roasted vegetable soup.
  • Don’t forget about the wide array of fresh fruits available during the winter season including apples, cranberries, pomegranates and pears. Add color to your salad or create a mouth-watering dessert by including any of these fruits! One of my favorite fruit infused salads combines pomegranates and gorgonzola cheese with a light champagne vinaigrette for a delicious appetizer.

Transform your classic holiday recipes into healthy ones with these simple substitutions:

  • Use two egg whites to replace one whole egg to lower the cholesterol.
  • Replace some of the oil, margarine or butter with applesauce in baked goods like muffins and quick breads to decrease the fat content.
  • Try low-fat versions of dairy products such as cheese, yogurt, and sour cream.

As the guest, enjoy your favorite dishes without overindulging:

  • Never arrive at a holiday party on an empty stomach! Be sure to eat a healthy snack made up of fruit, vegetables and hummus, or low-fat yogurt before you head to an event. As a result, you will not be as tempted to stuff yourself with appetizers as soon as you walk through the door.
  • Before you dig in, survey all of the food options. Fill up on healthy choices like salads, soups, lean meats, whole-grains and vegetables. Then, decide which less healthy dishes you absolutely want to enjoy and take a small portion of each (i.e. cheesy appetizers, steak, creamy mashed potatoes, apple pie, etc).
  • Socialize! Enjoy your conversations and eat slowly. If possible, try to sit far away from your favorite dishes so you are not as tempted to grab unnecessary second helpings.

The holiday season is my favorite time of the year. Food, family and friends—what could be better? While this season may be packed with celebrations and holiday cheer, remember that there is no need to pack on the pounds. Use these tips to start your New Year’s resolution before the ball drops!

Brittany Cines

 

This post was written by Brittany Cines, a dietetic intern at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Following completion of her yearlong internship at NIH, she plans to sit for her certification examination to become a Registered Dietitian (RD). Brittany enjoys sharing her food and nutrition knowledge and was excited to contribute to the Professor Vegetable blog.

Spice up your holiday season with guilt free granola!

It’s that time of the year again where your year-long dedication to dieting goes down the drain… in just a few hours. One way to combat this annual struggle is to get on a routine of eating a healthy breakfast within one hour of waking up. People who eat breakfast are more likely to maintain a healthy weight and feel better throughout the day. It’s easy to “forget” to eat breakfast during the holidays because starving ourselves in preparation of a big dinner feast seems like a brilliant idea to balance calorie intake. However, studies have proven that skipping breakfast can put your body into ‘starvation mode’, causing your body to store your next meal as fat. Ain’t nobody got time for that! According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, eating breakfast has also been shown to reduce irritability. So if you’re one of those people who gets trapped by the stresses of the holiday season, do yourself and everyone around you a favor and eat breakfast!

Thanks to my mom, I’ve been able to steal her delicious granola recipe and modify it for the holiday season (voila guilt free granola!). Make it into a Greek yogurt parfait and top it with your favorite fruit for a light but filling start to your morning. The rolled oats provide fiber and antioxidants, keeping you fuller for longer and the nuts will serve as the perfect crunch factor. With the combination of healthy fats (omega 3s), vitamins, and fiber, your digestive health is sure to be on the right track which is exactly how you want to start the new year!

granola

Guilt Free Granola Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin spice
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ cup coconut butter
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp. safflower oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325*
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper
  3. In a large bowl, mix: oats, nuts, raisins, coconut, flaxseed, pumpkin spice, & salt
  4. Stir well and set aside
  5. On low heat: add honey, coconut butter, coconut oil, butter, vanilla extract
  6. Stir until melted and thoroughly mixed
  7. Remove from heat and place over oil mixture, stir together
  8. Make a thin layer by spreading evenly on a baking sheet
  9. Bake for 10 minutes and toss and bake for 10 additional minutes
  10. Remove from oven when golden and crispy
  11. Set aside to cool for ~1 hour

kendra

 

This post was written by food and health blogger, Kendra Bova, a recent graduate of the George Washington University. She has a passion for all aspects health and encourages you to check out her recipes and fitness tidbits on her blog, Spoonfuls of Shape.

4 Low Calorie Treats for the Holidays

The holidays are almost here, and it's time to start planning your menu for the holiday season. If you are watching your calories this holiday season, then try these easy low calorie treats. Your friends and family won't even be able to tell the difference!

Candy Cane Cheesecake

You might think that you can't have cheesecake if you are watching your calories, but if you use fat-free cream cheese, you can still enjoy this delicious treat without all the extra calories.

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz. fat-free cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 6 oz. fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c. liquid egg whites
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 8 mini candy canes, crushed

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform cheesecake pan with nonstick cooking spray.

First bring the cream cheese, yogurt, and egg whites to room temperature.

Combine the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and beat until smooth.

Continue beating and gradually add the yogurt, egg whites, and flour. Beat until completely mixed together.

Stir in half the candy canes. Pour the cream cheese mixture into the prepared springform pan. Bake until firm, about 45 minutes.

Sprinkle the remaining crushed candy canes on top of the cheesecake. Let the cheesecake cool in the pan and then refrigerate until it is completely chilled.

When ready to serve, remove the cheesecake from the springform pan and slice. Serve with fat-free whip cream, if desired.

Lowfat Chocolate Covered Cherries

Chocolate covered cherries are always a favorite during the holiday season. Substituting dark chocolate for milk chocolate and canola oil for the shortening that is commonly used in this recipe substantially reduces the calorie total of this favorite treat.

Ingredients:

  • 10 oz. dark chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 jar maraschino cherries with stems

Directions:

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler or microwave at 50% power for 1 minute. Stir, and microwave at 100% power for 30 seconds. Stir and continue microwaving for 30 seconds until chocolate is melted and smooth.

Hold the cherries by the stems and dip them into the melted chocolate. Place the chocolate covered cherries on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Lowfat Sugar Cookies

If you enjoy cutting out sugar cookies during the holiday season, this lowfat version has half the butter of traditional sugar cookie recipes.

Ingredients:

  • 5 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 2/3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Beat the softened butter and sugar until creamy. Add the egg and vanilla. Mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture until a soft dough forms.

Form the dough into the shape of a ball and wrap it with plastic wrap. Place the dough in the refrigerator to chill for 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out cookie dough with a rolling pin and cut out with holiday cookie cutters.

Place cookies 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Instead of decorating the cookies with high calorie frosting, before baking add a light layer of red or green sprinkles to cookies.

Bake for approximately 9 minutes or until the edges are just starting to brown. Let cool on the pan for about 1 minute and then place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Candy Cane Martini

If you like to indulge in a cocktail or two during the holidays, here is a low calorie martini that you or your holiday guests are sure to love.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mini candy cane, crushed
  • 1 1/2 oz. vanilla vodka
  • 1/2 oz. peppermint schnapps
  • 1 oz. club soda

Directions:

To decorate the edge of the martini glass, dip the rim of the glass in water or vodka and then dip it into the crushed candy canes.

Place a couple of ice cubes into a cocktail shaker and then add the peppermint schnapps and vodka. Pour the mixture into the martini glass and add the club soda.

If you like, you can also place a mini candy cane in the bottom of the glass.

The holidays can sometimes be a hard time for people who are watching their calories. Whether you are the one who is watching what you eat this holiday season or you are cooking for people who are, these recipes will help make your holiday recipe planning easy and virtually pain free.

Photo credit:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/chiotsrun/4184272849/

Ashley Jenkins is a professional blogger that shares tips and advice on health, training and nutrition. He writes for Fitness 19, a leading fitness facility with affordable month to month memberships.

Five Tips For A Healthy Holiday

Today we will hear from my friend Coco, a blogger at Running with Perseverance! She will share some tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays – enjoy! 

Coco

Hi, I’m Coco and I blog about how I balance my hectic life with fitness and faith at Running With Perseverance. Professor Vegetable asked me if I could share some of my tips for staying healthy through the holidays. I’ve lived through many holiday seasons since I lost weight and got in shape, and some were much healthier than others. This holiday season I’ll be following these five tips for a healthy holiday that have worked for me.

5 Tips For A Healthy Holiday

1. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Most of the holiday foods that I like to indulge in are carbs like Christmas cookies, peppermint bark, cornbread stuffing, and more Christmas cookies. I try to keep my diet balanced by eating lots of fruits and vegetables every day. I toss a handful of chopped spinach in my breakfast omelet, enjoy an orange as “dessert” at lunch, snack on an apple mid-afternoon, and enjoy a huge salad at least once a day. Fruits and vegetables are high in nutrients, low in calories, and will fuel your holiday activities without weighing you down.

2. Keep up your exercise routine. The holiday season brings new demands on our time, but it is important to keep up your exercise routine. Since I usually exercise first thing in the morning, the flurry of after-work events and holiday dinners doesn’t really interfere with my workout schedule, unless I hit snooze too many times after being out too late. Even if your holiday plans do cut in to your gym time, you can stay on track with a short workout (like a few rounds of this High Intensity Circuit Training workout), or a brisk walk.

3. Stay hydrated. Once the weather gets cold, it can get harder to drink enough water, but it is just as important to stay hydrated in the winter months as it is during the summer. This is especially true if you are active outdoors, since you may not realize how much water you lost to sweating in the cold. Also, your home or office may have extra dry air from their heating systems. If you get dehydrated, you may feel tired, sluggish, and more vulnerable to grabbing a few more of those Christmas cookies, so make sure you have a glass of water first!

4. Enjoy your family and friends. Sometimes I get so caught up in our holiday to-do lists, I forget to take time to relax and enjoy our family and friends. Make sure you take some time out from the hustle and bustle to enjoy the people who mean so much to you. Even if you don’t finish your holiday shopping or get that last loaf of bread baked, the laughter and good times will make holiday memories that you will treasure.

5. Make getting enough sleep a priority. I am guilty of burning the candle at both ends, especially through the holidays, but skimping on sleep is a sure-fire way to get run-down and increase your vulnerability to the latest holiday germs. Set a bedtime and stick to it, even if you still have presents to wrap and cards to address. If you really can’t get it all done without staying up half the night, try to trim your list of obligations before you trim your Christmas tree.

I hope these tips help you have a healthy and happy holiday season. I’d love it if you would connect with me on my Running With Perseverance blog, Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!

Like a Master Chef in Your Pocket: 8 Ways to Use Your Smartphone When Cooking

Traditionally cell phones and cooking did not mix well. Today, our smartphones come equipped with a variety of tools and potential apps that can make cooking much easier. So buy a heavy-duty case for your smartphone and start using it for handy tools like:

1. Social Advice: Do you have a question about how something is prepared or what temperature something needs to be? Use your smartphone to hop online and consult the right Pinterest page – or message a friend who knows the answer. There are also plenty of cooking communities and networks you can join to receive much-needed advice when you cannot find the answer anywhere else.

2. Recipe Apps: No matter what operating system you use, there are hundreds of recipe apps available for you access, many of them free. Use these to quickly search for recipes and find new food ideas. Many apps also specialize in a particular food group or style (like grilling, fresh produce, and similar fields). Recipe apps can often be customized in many different ways and may work better than traditional cookbooks – not to mention, you can find plenty of places to prop up your smartphone for a useful reference.

3. Conversions: Worried about a conversion? Want to convert Fahrenheit to Celsius, liquid to dry ounces, or centimeters to inches? Simply whip out your phone and look it up. Many recipes apps have built-in conversion tools, but there are other apps that specialize in conversions. Of course, you can take the even-simpler option and simply look up conversions online if necessary.

4. Substitutions: Much like conversions, substitutions are much easier with a phone in hand. Enter apps have been devoted to giving you advice on what can serve as a substitute if you are running low on ingredients. Other apps focus on offering healthier substitutions if you want to start improving the health of your meals or losing weight.

5. Professional Videos: Apps like Appetites and many apps produced by major cooking brands feature both instruction and video demonstrations – sometimes demonstrations hosted by famous chefs. Using your smartphone for these apps allows you to literally follow along in the kitchen, almost like have a personal instructor.

6. Timers: Old-fashioned timers are handy, but if you want to set multiple timers for a big meal, then pull out your smartphone and set them. Not only can you manage multiple timers at once, but you will always have your timer with you, making it impossible to forget about foods or missing that important beeping noise.

7. Vocal Instructions: Turn on your smartphone voice assistant to look up an important food item or recipe tip when your hands are dirty. Even better, search for an app that includes voice compatibility. The app will give you vocal instructions as you are working, and respond to commands to repeat or move on to the next step.

8. Looking Up Product Info: Today, a variety of apps can be used to swiftly scan products for more information. Some can identify products with a snapshot: Others require you to scan a barcode. You can then access information on a product's ingredients and potential uses. You can also look up popular dishes for a specific food or ingredient to help come up with more ideas.

Lana Marston is a professional is a professional blogger that shares cooking advice. She writes for RecipeChart.com, where you can find a large selection of delicious recipes.